According to Konrad Zawadzki, Quality Expert of the Association of Polish Fruit and Vegetable Distributors, “AQSIQ inspectors will then visit Poland in early autumn to confirm the protocols, and maybe in the first half of the year 2016, the market will finally open for us.”
Konrad explains that Poland is particularly interested in exporting bicolour apples, not only because they are the most common, representing 80% of the crops but also due to their good quality, firmness, and unique taste. Poland, in any case, offers a wide range of varieties, such as the Idared, Gala, Red Jonaprince or Jonagored, Golden Delicious.
For now, and until further deals are reached, Europe remains the largest market for Polish apples. Additionally, large volumes are sold to Belarus, Kazakhstan and new markets have recently opened, like Canada, India and the Middle East. We also export to Hong Kong and we are working on the protocols to enter Thailand and Vietnam,” affirms Konrad.
He explains that the main difficulty in accessing these markets is that, unlike in the EU’s environment, which is strongly regulated for aspects such as Integrated Production or Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and where there is mutual trust, those countries won’t take anything for granted. “They need to get to know us better and to be convinced that our products fulfil their strict requirements”, claims Konrad.
Such efforts on Poland’s part are intended to offset the impact of the Russian embargo, although Russia, due to many factors, seems to be a natural business partner for Poland. To gain new markets Poland has taken many actions not only promotional ones, but also ones concerning a real improvement on the quality of Polish apples. Everything to become more competitive on new markets.
"The positive aspect that flows out from the ban is that this situation creates an opportunity to Poland to diversify. These new markets will naturally have new requirements, and this will also lead to the improvement of the fruit’s quality. We also believe that, as soon as the ban is lifted, our relations with Russian clients will go back to normal,” Konrad ended.